In about 1935 Konishi Sensei, Ueshiba Sensei (the founder of Aikido), Mabuni Sensei, and Ohtsuka Sensei were training together almost daily. At this time, the Japanese government was largely controlled by top officers of the Imperial Army. Konishi Sensei was asked by the commanding general of the Japanese Army to develop women’s self-defence techniques. His first step in fulfilling the Army’s request was to ask Mabuni Sensei to help him develop standardized training methods, to help the students remember the techniques.
As a result of the collaboration between three great masters, the Seiryu kata contained the essence of both Aikido and Jujutsu, going with the force instead of directly opposing an opponent’s attack. Ryu means willow in English, and just like a willow will bend with the wind, so should the martial artist practicing this kata. The term also implies great strength, for the willow does not break under the force of the wind. The kanji for this kata may also be pronounced Aoyagi.